Representatives from 60 countries are meeting in Washington February 17-19 with the shared goal of defeating violent extremism.

The White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism partners governments, civil society groups and local leaders to discuss ideas on empowering communities to confront this challenge.

“We know from experience that the best way to protect people, especially young people, from falling into the grip of violent extremists is the support of their family, friends, teachers and faith leaders,” President Obama wrote in a February 17 Los Angeles Times op-ed.

Military power alone is not enough to defeat extremists, Obama added, adding that “propagandists, recruiters and enablers” must also be confronted.

“Efforts to counter violent extremism will only succeed if citizens can address legitimate grievances through the democratic process and express themselves through strong civil societies,” Obama said. “Those efforts must be matched by economic, educational and entrepreneurial development so people have hope for a life of dignity.”

Obama said the campaign to prevent radicalization is a battle for hearts and minds.

“With this week’s summit, we’ll show once more that — unlike terrorists who only offer misery and death — it is our free societies and diverse communities that offer the true path to opportunity, justice and dignity.”